Published in UN News Centre, March 31, 2015.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has today welcomed the ceasefire and the withdrawal of forces from the Sidra Oil Crescent area, a move which follows weeks of mediation efforts between parties.

The talks took place between the Sunrise (Alshuruq) Operation and the Oil Installation Guard forces, “relying on the goodwill of the parties to end the conflict,” said a statement from UNSMIL today.

“The Mission considers the withdrawal a significant first step in ending the fighting in the Oil Crescent area,” the note said, further inviting parties to a meeting soon to continue the negotiations, which include interim security arrangements for the oil facilities.

UNSMIL has repeatedly called for an end to the fighting across Libya, including in the Oil Crescent area and urged parties to the conflict to cease all military hostilities. Parties should “focus instead on their common enemy, the terrorist groups which are determined to expand their areas of influence.”

Welcoming the developments in the Sidra area, UNSMIL stressed that such action, in addition to stopping the bloodshed and securing Libya’s oil wealth, would also help create an atmosphere of trust as Libyan parties engage in a decisive stage of the political dialogue aimed at finding ways to end the country’s political crisis and military conflict.

The Mission urged parties in other areas to engage in similar arrangements to end the bloodshed and restore stability in the high interest of Libya.